Vow: area to have 76 extra cops

SEVENTY-SIX extra police would patrol the region under a Liberal State Government, the party has announced.
Liberal police spokesperon Kim Wells said Geelong would have 45 new officers and the rest would man the Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast if the opposition won this month’s election.
The Liberal police policy also included a new station at Grovedale.
Mr Wells said the boost would allow stations at Ocean Grove and Torquay to operate 24 hours a day while providing staff for a new “police kiosk” in Geelong’s Market Square Mall.
The Liberal commitment matched a long-standing Victoria Police Assoc-iation call for 76 extra officers in the region.
The association demanded the boost during public anger last year over police staffing across the region.
The Government responded with a commitment of eight extra police.
Mr Wells said the region was still understaffed. He blamed the shortfall for a lack of divisional van patrols, regular station shutdowns and the failure of the new Bellarine station to operate at the Government’s promise of 24 hours a day.
“The Geelong community has struggled with insufficient police numbers long enough,” Mr Wells said.
“We do not always agree with the police union but on this issue we are totally committed to ensuring Gee-long’s police numbers crisis is fixed.”
Mr Wells said the kiosk would help address ongoing concerns among traders and shoppers about violence and theft in central Geelong.
Police Minister Tim Holding ridiculed the Liberal policy, accusing the party of “running around the state making uncosted, undeliverable promises”.